For the school year 2011-12, April Heitland was part-time director of the preschool program for Dallas Center Grimes School District, and part-time first grade teacher. This year she has added another “hat” to her job description.
Heitland was appointed assistant principal at North Ridge Elementary School when former principal Lea Davidson left. DC-G Superintendent Scott Grimes took over as principal, with Heitland as his assistant.
“I am here every day, and I work to balance my time between the two programs and meet the needs of the school,” Heitland says.
Heitland grew up in Greenfield and was in the last graduating class from Greenfield High School, now Nodaway Valley School District. She went on to earn her bachelor of arts degree in elementary education from Buena Vista College. After teaching a few years, she went back for her master’s of science/educational leadership degree at Missouri State College.
Her 15-year teaching career has given her the opportunity to teach all grades from preschool through fifth grade.
“I taught two years at Avoca HST, then six years in the Des Moines Public Schools before coming to DC-G in 2001,” Heitland says. “Part of me misses the classroom time with the kids, but I do get to interact with them in the halls and lunch room.”
This is her first year at North Ridge.
“One of the greatest things about being here is watching the kids I had in first grade at South Prairie,” Heitland says. “It is so exciting to see how they have grown in the two and three years.”
Ann Bass, principal at South Prairie, began the preschool program as a part-time project, but the numbers of kids has grown to become a full time program.
“We now serve just under 200 3- and 4-year-olds for a half day, four days a week,” Heitland says, “There are two classes at South Prairie, two classes at North Ridge, plus a class at First Presbyterian Church in Grimes and a class at Kid’s Corner in Dallas Center, all linked together with the Dallas Center School District.”
The transition to administrative work was not hard for her, she says. The staff in general at DC-G is amazing.
“This group of teachers made the transition very easy, and Mrs. Davidson was very organized,” Heitland says. “I’ve had great support from Mr. Grimes and Mrs. Chizek. The are both so easy to talk to and helpful with my questions.”
Heitland is also in a mentoring program through the School Administrators of Iowa, and has been paired with a principal in the Johnston School District.
“My husband, Scott, teaches at the high school and is the varsity football coach,” Heitland says. They have one son, 3-year-old Chase.
“Will Chase become a football player? We don’t know, yet,” she says. “Right now he really loves music, so maybe he’ll play in the band for football games. I just hope he does what he wants to do, and does it well.”